Thursday, May 5, 2011

Do you love animals? Do you put them in your stories?

Today I picked up Chico from the vet where we boarded him while we were away. I’d missed him so much, and eagerly awaited his usual antics of running around in circles and choking from excitement at the very sight of me.

But he did no such thing. He wasn’t the least bit interested in leaving this paradise of laps, constant attention, and other animals to play with. The staff loved him. He’d had the run of the place all week. He was spoiled rotten. When I got the little beast home, he plopped down with a huge sigh, his expression one of profound boredom.

Back at my computer, my dejected dog flopped at my feet, I got to thinking about the animals in my books. Oddly, none of my characters have pets. There are animals, of course. I can’t do without them. But in my stories they are creatures of purpose, not merely accessories. In Ammanon, the emperor’s mighty steed Maxor is pivotal to the plot, as is his captive wife’s mare, the fleet and faithful Zephyr. Not to mention a pair of wayward goats that actually decide the course of a battle. In later books of the series, other animals come forth as heroes and helpers.

But why, when I grew up with birds, turtles, dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, chickens, sheep, cows, and horses, have I neglected to insert them into the domestic lives of my characters? I have no answer for that one.

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